Cedarburg junior Josh Dixon is the defending state champion in the triple jump. He also took second at the AAU Junior Olympics.

Photo by: Gary Porter

Cedarburg's Josh Dixon first tried the triple jump in eighth grade.

In 10th grade, he was a state champion.

The first time I did it, I didn't do very well, Dixon said. I didn't do well at all.

Dixon competed in the 100-meter dash and the 200 in middle school before he decided to give the triple jump a try.

I said, 'Why not? You might as well,'  Dixon said. I understood it, I guess. It didn't confuse me like a lot of people.

Dixon even broke the Webster Middle School record with a triple jump of 40 feet 9 inches in eighth grade.

I kind of had an idea after I broke the record, I was like, 'OK, this might be something,'  Dixon said. But I wasn't exactly sure. I didn't think it was going to lead me to this.

This, for the junior and reigning state champion, is a shot at breaking the state record in the triple jump.

I have beaten the state record, but I have to do it at state, Dixon said.

Dixon took second place with a 49-4 triple jump at the AAU Junior Olympics last summer in Hampton Roads, Va. The state record is 48-11, set by Bradley Tech's Victor Reynolds in 2005.

Last year, Dixon registered a 48-5 at sectionals and won state with a mark of 47-5 despite suffering a separated shoulder while running on a relay team earlier in the season.

After it got a little better, I went to the regional meet and only jumped like a 44-6, Dixon said. I was like, 'What's going on?' I wasn't sure how the injury was going to play out. Then I got to the sectional meet and was really excited. It was a nice day and everything. I was feeling it.

It wasn't like Dixon came out of nowhere last season, but onlookers were cautious at first.

I think he came on strong at the end of his freshman year, so people kind of had an eye on him, Cedarburg coach Josh Zielinski said. His first meet at Whitewater he had 47 feet and he burst onto the scene. People said, 'All right, let's see if this kid can repeat.' And he did.

Dixon usually does. He consistently jumps at least 45 feet, and according to his coach, only one other person has reached that distance so far on the state honor roll.

Once you're getting 45, 46, 47 feet, you start separating yourself into the top category, Zielinski said. Very few people in the state on a bad day can say they're going 45 feet. Most people would be happy to be there at the end of the year.

Dixon continues to work on some details of the first phase of his jumps, but he isn't an unknown any more. Zielinski isn't worried about any extra pressure or distractions as a result, however.

He's taken it well, Zielinski said. The first two meets, when he goes, more people are watching. He's very humble when it comes to success.

Dixon, who won the triple jump with a 45-5 at Whitewater two weeks ago and with a 47-2 at Carthage this past weekend, can thank his family for that.

Dixon's father, Luther, qualified for state in the 1,600 relay as a senior at Milwaukee North in 1975. His mother, Cheryl, took third at state in the 100 hurdles as a senior at North in '77.

Dixon's oldest brother, Raymond, won the 200, placed second in the 100 and took third in the long jump as a senior at Milwaukee Pulaski in 1996. His sister, CherRay, took 10th in the 100 at state last season as a senior at Cedarburg.

What makes Josh unique is it's such a big part of his family's life, Zielinski said.